Mandolesi, Serena, Simona Naspetti, & Raffaele Zanoli (in press). Exploring edible insects’ acceptance through subjective perceptions: A visual Q study. Journal of Insects as Food and Feed. 14 pp. (Link:

Abstract: The practice of eating insects, known as entomophagy, is part of a regular diet for millions of people in Asia, Latin America and Africa. However, the use of insects as food is relatively new in Western countries. The present paper explores the willingness to adopt edible insects as food among Italian consumers using Q methodology. A sample of ‘experts’ (e.g. entomologists) and ‘non-experts’ (e.g. students and other researchers) formed the participant sample (P sample). Participants were asked to rank-order a set of 36 images of food dishes prepared using insects (Q sample). Results showed that visual appearance plays an important role in influencing consumers acceptance of insects as food. The Q analysis identified three distinct viewpoints or consumer profiles: Factor 1 ‘The Traditionalist’; Factor 2 ‘The Fast Food Addicted’; and Factor 3 ‘The Insectivore’. This study confirms that visible insects in food may be problematic for the more traditional viewpoint, while results for the other two factors identify possible avenues for better communicating insect-based food.

Serena Mandolesi <> and Simona Naspetti <> are in the Department of Science and Engineering of Matter, Environment and Urban Planning, and Raffaele Zanoli <> is in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy.